Wildlife: A rare sight

With only 12 individuals remaining in the Eburru Forest, sightings of the endangered mountain bongo are rare.

A mountain bongo was recently photographed in Eburru Forest, to the delight of conservationists.
The last sighting of a bongo in the 8715-hectare forest near Lake Naivasha was in 2011. It is estimated that only 12 individuals still reside in the forest, which is part of the Mau Forests Complex within the scenic Rift Valley.

The mountain bongo is a large forest-dwelling antelope that lives at high altitude in dense indigenous forests. It is a critically-endangered species found only in Kenya. Fewer than 100 of these beautiful animals are thought to exist in the wild. Besides Eburru Forest, where the bongo was photographed by a camera trap, the Bongo Surveillance Programme has identified bongo surviving in small groups in South Western Mau, Western Mau, the Aberdare Ranges and on the southwestern slopes of Mount Kenya.

In order to address the challenges facing the survival of the bongo, the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, together with the KWS and the Kenya Forest Service with support from the Mpesa Foundation, Finlays and other partners, has started erecting an electric fence around the Eburru Forest. The 50-km long fence is expected to protect the forest from illegal activities, such as logging of indigenous trees, charcoal making, poaching and over-grazing. The fencing project was inspired by the 400-km electric fence spearheaded by Rhino Ark in the Aberdare ecosystem.

Investors offered tourism sites
Investors have been offered 16 tourism attraction sites in selected national parks across Kenya. Advertisements appeared in the national press inviting proposals for the development and operation of tourism facilities in Lake Nakuru (above), Kakamega Forest, Sibiloi, Malindi, Chyullu Hills, Tsavo West, Mt Elgon, Nairobi, Hells Gate and Marsabit. The development of high-end visitor facilities is part of Kenya tourism sector’s drive to tap into the World Tourism Organisation’s projected 1.6 billion international tourist arrivals by 2020. Currently, during peak tourism, bed occupancy levels are around 92%. Additional numbers can only be accommodated if Kenya increases the bed capacity.

Connecting cricket to wildlife
The Kenyan and Indian governments have struck a deal to link cricket and wildlife as a way of driving tourism prospects in both Commonwealth countries. Wildlife experts from both countries will participate in staff exchange programmes to share experiences of emerging wildlife issues. These are some of the ways agreed upon to strengthen the Kenya-India ties in tourism and sports. The deal was struck at a recent consultative meeting between the Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr Sibabrata Tripathi, and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director, Mr William Kiprono. The recent fast growth of the Indian economy has seen many of its citizens touring the world, with Kenya attracting about 20,000 Indian tourists every year – in particular to the Masai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park.